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Tag Archives: brain

There’s something comforting about this story: even Nobel-winning economists procrastinate! Many of us go through life with an array of undone tasks, large and small, nibbling at our conscience. But Akerlof saw the experience, for all its familiarity, as mysterious. He genuinely intended to send the box to his friend, yet, as he wrote, in a paper called “Procrastination and Obedience” (1991), “each morning for over eight months I woke up and decided that the next morning would be the day to send the Stiglitz box.” He was always about to send the box, but the moment to act never arrived. Akerlof, who became one of the central figures in behavioral economics, came to the realization that procrastination might be more than just a bad habit. He argued that it revealed something important about the limits of rational thinking and that it could teach useful lessons about phenomena as diverse as substance abuse and savings habits. Since his essay was published, the study of procrastination has become a significant field in academia, with philosophers, psychologists, and economists all weighing in.

Later: What does procrastination tell us about ourselves? in The New Yorker via Nellie


Link: Habits of the Mind

The Misconception: All buttons placed around you do your bidding.

The Truth: Many public buttons are only there to comfort you.


One of the best arguments to me that emerging adulthood, like adolescence, is its own phase (which means it’s not just a Millennial thing or just a recession thing) is what’s happening in the brain. Just like adolescents might go through their “identity exploration” by turning to promiscuity and excessive drug use, or by locking themselves in the basement playing video games and never so much as touching a beer or a boob, “emerging adults,” too, can take a number of forms. But one thing that bonds adolescents across the board is what happens with their hormones. And scientists are seeing similar physical manifestations of “emerging adulthood,” with the new realization that the brain does not fully mature until age 25 or so. There’s definitely a cultural element to these phases (and, as you mentioned Jess, an economic one), but it looks like there’s a physical one, too.

The other interesting question to me is why all this matters, beyond the level of “Well now I can send this article to my parents and get them off my back.” (Unless your parent wrote the article, in which case she already sort of gets it.) On a policy level, we offer protections to children and to adolescents: They have a separate criminal justice system; they can be declared as dependents on taxes and covered by their parents’ health insurance; they are guaranteed a free education. If we do come to accept this new period between adolescence and adulthood as its own stage, what policy implications should that have? This is, of course, an age group that often enters the workplace laden with student debt. If a 22-year-old doesn’t even have a fully mature brain yet, should we really expect him to be on top of paying off his loans, managing his health care plan, and all the other hassles that come with full-on adulthood?

Samantha Henig (the daughter of the woman who wrote the highly popular and talked about New York Times article)

Link: What Caffeine Does to Your Brain

The more Noggin in your brain, the less BMP activity exists and the more stem cell divisions and neurogenesis you experience. Mice at Northwestern whose brains were infused directly with large doses of Noggin became, Dr. Kessler says, “little mouse geniuses, if there is such a thing.” They aced the mazes and other tests.

Gretchen Reynolds – Your Brain on Excercise

(Man, I wouldn’t mind a little bit of noggin injected into my brain. Haha. Though, according to the article, I suppose I should just go for a run.)